AutoNxt Automation, one of India’s first electric tractor start-up has secured funding Rs 6.4 crore in seed round funding from angel investment from HNI under the leadership of Swadeep Pillarisetti who is also one of the board members at AutoNxt Automation.
The funding round was led by Keiretsu Forum, Virya Mobility 5.0 and a few marquee angels like Ayad Khalil Chammas, an oil and gas professional now an international investor in the EV space; Chand Das, former CEO for ITC; Nitin Johar, CFO for IDO at Govt of Ras Al Khaimah; Suveer Sinha, India head for KKR Capstone; Ravichandran Sargunaraj, former Executive-Director, TVS Logistics Services and others.
The start-up says it has used this funding towards R&D, tooling and testing of India’s first electric tractor for 3-years. In addition to that, they also introduced 3 different variants of the e-tractor and gearing up to launch the 20HP, 35HP and 45HP variants of e-tractors in the market in the ongoing financial year. It is now looking to start its pre-series A funding round for Rs 27 crore ($3.5 million).
AutoNxt has built its entire supply chain and assembly setup from ground up. Simultaneously, it has built the production-ready high torque electric powertrain. The start-up claims it is the only one in the market with high voltage systems. During all these years, it has bolstered its team with experienced industry professionals. The start-up states that it has also been actively working on automation stack powered with AI and 5G technology which they are testing on various used cases of tractors. The company plans to release their autonomous driving features by 2024. This will add to the benefits of electric tractors and reduce the hardships that farmers go through while driving a tractor on the field in extreme conditions.
In terms of powertrain integration parts and the hood, it is ready with the production ready moulds. Their hood and dashboard have distinctive styles and tooling. For their tractors, AutoNxt Automation has created a smart VCU which gives a complete smart analysis of the tractor performance, health and the possibility to give tractors on lease. It has also developed a mobile application for the same.
The Mumbai-based start-up says when compared to traditional tractors available in the market, the cost-saving technology utilised in electric tractors allows for over four-fold reduction in running costs. Due to the tractor’s autonomy and the electric engine’s quiet operation (compared to conventional diesel tractors), health hazards including hearing loss and spinal injuries are avoided.
Kaustubh Dhonde, Founder & CEO, AutoNxt Automation said, “With this next round of funding, we will focus on our electric tractors’ production readiness as well as their market introduction by the end of this year. Through the implementation of a new lease and distribution model for the AutoNxt electric – self-driving tractor, we hope to change and redefine the agricultural tractor market. When compared to the standard tractors already on the market, the cost-saving technology reduces operational costs by up to four times. Due to our company’s efforts to lead the electric vehicle market, we want to significantly cut carbon emissions not only in India but also globally.”